Our Board of Directors

Philip Smith – Executive Director

  • Former Director of Planning and Development, City of Spencer
  • Former West Virginia Council Chair and Distinguished Service Award recipient for Trout Unlimited
  • Leader on Birthplace of Rivers National Monument Campaign; Conservation Specialist for WV Rivers Coalition
  • Fifteen year employee of West Virginia Department of Agriculture
  • West Virginia native, cider apple orchardist, and trails advocate

As a seventh generation West Virginian who cherishes the connection between our Appalachian heritage and our natural environment, I believe that idyllic, public spaces like the WVBG are central to our region’s story. The partnership between the public and nature is so impressive here, enhanced by the well-executed gardens and preserved natural areas. I’m grateful to work with an exceptional staff and army of volunteers that are all motivated by a shared connection to this landscape.

– Philip

Shawn Grushecky – President

  • Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Energy Land Management, WVU
  • Actively volunteers with many service projects at WVU
  • Current Adviser for WVU ELM Student Association
  • Founding member and volunteer for the Mountaineer Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association
  • Resident of Morgantown since 2011
First and foremost I love the community atmosphere of the garden.  It is a great resource for the region to meet and enjoy their natural surroundings.   The hardworking nature of all the WVBG volunteers also motivates me to try to do more for the garden to make it an even better community resource.

 – Shawn

Rod Brundage – Vice President

  • Currently employed by West Virginia University, Safety & Health Extension
  • Monongalia County Certified Master Gardener, 5+ Years
  • President Vantage Pointe Homeowners Association
  • Resident of Monongalia County for over 15 Years
For me this is the perfect combination of place and people. Having such a magnificent outdoor space, that is equally matched by the wonderful caring people who have come together to protect and celebrate it, provides a tremendous asset to our local community and our state. It is an honor to be a part of this organization.

 – Rod

Jodie Jackson – Secretary

  • Spent 25 years working on WV rural health issues in the Office of Community and Rural Health at WVU.
  • Spent 6 years on the board of the Morgantown Theatre Company, a children’s theatre group.
  • Came to WV 27+ years ago after living in TN, AK, NC, and DC.
I Love the garden as a unique place to spend time outside, learn about plants, and listen to the frogs!I

 – Jodie

Jan Mitchell – Treasurer

  • Work with the Board of Education in both Harrison and Preston Counties
  • Worked as a Pharmacist at Monongalia General Hospital for 31 years
  • Active in the Service League of Morgantown since 1990, currently Treasurer
  • Active with the Mon County Master Gardeners since 2000, currently serving as President
  • Active with Valley Hills Garden Club 2014-Present, currently Vice President
  • West Virginia Garden Club, Landscape Design School Chairman 2016-Present
  • Also an active member of the Suncrest United Methodist Church Staff Parrish and Prayer Quilt Ministry
No matter what the season there is always something to see at the West Virginia Botanic Garden. It is serene and beautiful.

 – Jan

Nancy Abrams 

  • Writer & photographer; former journalist
  • Author, The Climb from Salt Lick: A Memoir of Appalachia, published by West Virginia University Press
  • Monongalia County Special Olympics, Executive committee
  • WVU Campus Club, Former president,
  • Co-owner and board member of communally owned farm in Preston County, WV
  • Resident of Morgantown for more than 20 years

I love the botanic garden because it offers different opportunities to different audiences. It is an educational experience for children and adults. It is a beautiful respite from our harried lives. Visitors can explore the intersection of the natural world and cultivated gardens. It is a glorious addition to the Morgantown community.

 – Nancy

Dave Barnett

  • Currently an Independent Sales Representative in the Outdoor Recreation Industry

  • Active with the Morgantown Tree Board

  • From Wilmington, Del, resident of West Virginia for 28 years

  • Worked in the Landscape Industry for 10 years.

  • WVU Forestry graduate, ISA Certified Arborist

Being part of the WVBG has helped me to continue my interest in trees, plants, and environment as well as introduce people to this amazing place and community within WV. I’m happy to be a small portion of such a great organization and wonderful people within and look forward to WVBG’s future growth.

– Dave

Linda Bagby

  • Retired Professional Landscape Architect
  • Active Member of the Morgantown Newcomers Club
  • Active Member of Wesley United Methodist Church
  • Resident of Morgantown since 1992
This Garden is a wonderful resource for our community! It is a place to experience the beauty of both natural and designed landscapes. It is a place where the wide diversity of plants that grow in this region can be showcased. It is a place to relax, de-stress, have a walk or run, and be inspired by new wonders every season if not every day. Best of all, it is a place where people can learn about and appreciate why we love West Virginia.

 – Linda

Patrick Biafore

  • Vice President and COO of Biafore Landscape Development
  • Certified Professional Horticulturalist with a specialization in herbaceous plants
  • West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, Board Member
  • West Virginia native
The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Morgantown.  The Garden is rapidly growing figuratively and literally.  It provides a great educational resource for the community and for those interested in all kinds of plant material, animals, and nature in general.  The  WVBG is an asset for the community, city, and state.  It is also a wonderful place to relax, get some exercise, or enjoy a community event.

– Pat

Victoria Cather

  • Realtor – Old Colony Realtors
  • Director of the West Virginia Association of Realtors
  • Master Gardener
  • WVBG Board member since 2011
  • Friends of the Art Museum Committee Member
  • WVU College of Creative Arts Visiting Board Member
  • Native of Morgantown
I have always had a love of the outdoors and the treasures it has to offer. It has become my passion to help make a difference in the growth of the West Virginia Botanic Garden. I look forward to the WVBG becoming a tourism, education, and venue destination for our great state.

 – Victoria

Gregg Cave

  • Assistant Dean of Student & Alumni Services at the WVU School of Nursing
  • Native West Virginian and Monongalia Co. resident for 26 years
  • U.S. Army veteran

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to introduce kids to the outdoors.  It is a classroom where they can actively participate in the beauty of nature.  An absolute WV treasure!

 – Gregg

Vince Collins

  • Retired Attorney, Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC
  • WVU Law School Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Board Member, Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation, Northern WV Pilots’ Association
  • Resident of Morgantown in 1960’s and for the past 27 years
I love the WVBG because it offers great opportunities to introduce children to the many joys of the natural world and for adults to re-connect with nature.

 – Vince

Hope Covey

  • Retired from WVU Cancer Center Cancer Information Services in 2002
  • Member of OLLI at WVU (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)
  • Member of Morgantown Service League
  • Participant in WVU Campus Club interest groups
  • Have lived in Morgantown since 1984
The WVBG is a very special outdoor place combining opportunity for groomed trail walking and hiking through undeveloped forest trails.  There is opportunity to experience native plants in the forest and cultivated plants in landscaped beds in the developed area–all close to Morgantown. A wide variety of programs to educate participants, and most especially, emphasis on nature programming for children.

 – Hope

Leisha Elliott

  • Executive Director for the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Marion County
  • Education Chair for the West Virginia Association of CVBs
  • Southeast Tourism Society Board of Directors
  • Lifetime resident of Marion County.
WVBG provides a sense of community. Not only is it possible to spend time with people who love to garden but also have a love for the state and take great pride in improving both. There is also a sense of calm as you enter the garden.

 – Leisha

Nancy Elliott

  • Retired Physician Assistant, Wedgewood Family Practice and Psychiatry Associates, Inc.
  • Health Right Volunteer for five years
  • Member of the Valley Hills Garden Club
  • Member of the Women’s Giving Circle of North Central WV
  • Member of Steel Away steel drum band of CB Studios.
  • Satchel of Caring volunteer
  • Former ski patroller and Wounded Warrior Project volunteer in Snowshoe, WV
  • Native of West Virginia, Monongalia County resident since 1983.
I see the botanic garden as a diamond in the rough that I can help shape into an awesome asset for our state.  As a health care provider, I see it as an excellent place for peaceful meditation and reflection, walking, and hiking. As a mother, I see it as a place of awe and education for children.

 – Nancy

Zach Fowler

  • Director, West Virginia University Core Arboretum
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, West Virginia University Department of Biology
  • Board Member, Friends of the Cheat
  • Past Board Member, Brooks Bird Club
  • Lifelong resident of West Virginia, lived in Morgantown since 2005
I think that West Virginia Botanic Garden is an excellent place to connect people with nature and gardens, and it is a treasure for our community and region.

 – Zach

Harry Grandon

  • General Manager and former Marketing Director at Morgantown Mall
  • WVU Graduate, Economics with a minor in English
  • Greater Morgantown Area CVB, Secretary and Board Member
  • Morgantown Rotary Club, Past President and Current Foundation Chair
  • Sigma Chi Fraternity Chapter Advisor
  • Morgantown Bike Board, Board Member, 
  • West Virginia native, born and raised in St. Albans

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a hidden gem in north central West Virginia. Not only is it a beautiful natural place to visit but it hosts a wide variety of events and activities for all age groups in our community. I volunteered to serve as I want to help continue the amazing outreach this organization, the facilities and all its volunteers have had on the greater Morgantown area.

 – Harry

Andrea Horton

  • Retired from EQT Corporation in 2017
  • Petroleum/Natural Gas Engineer
  • Member and past chapter advisor of Chi Omega Sorority on WVU campus
  • Member of the Motown Strutters, a senior tap dancing troupe, affiliated with Morgantown Dance and the Morgantown Senior Center
  • Lifelong resident of Monongalia County

The WVBG is a place I frequent. It provides a personal place of solitude for reflection….a place where we brought my wheelchair bound mother-in-law to listen to birds …a place where we can take visiting family and friends for an after dinner walk…  a place where I walk our dogs…a place where we are able to teach our young grandchildren about nature …a place where there are opportunities to commune with nature close to home……a place where I can appreciate all the beauty of nature.

 – Diane

Diane Kinney

  • Worked as a Physical Therapist primarily in Home Health for over 35 years, currently retired 
  • Holds degrees in Chemistry and Physical Therapy
  • Active in Newcomers Club
  • Enjoys travel, gardening and family time
  • Resident of Morgantown since 1978

I love working with the WVBG on the efforts to continually grow and improve the Garden. I especially enjoy working to plan fund-raising events.  I am looking forward to being part of the ongoing plans for improvement.

 – Diane

Janet Paladino

  • Department Director and Professor of Environmental Sciences, Waynesburg University, Pennsylvania
  • Resident of Morgantown since 1996
I teach a wide variety of environmental courses, and develop educational outreach programs which focus on student/community interactions, both locally and globally.   I am passionate about educational programs at the WVBG which help to preserve a link between society and nature.

 – Janet

David Samuel

  • Retired wildlife biologist, and outdoor writer
  • Board member, Rotary Club of Cheat Lake
  • Resident of Cheat Lake since 1965
I love the WVBG because of the value it brings to the community and the state of West Virginia.  These include educational values, tourism potential, and just a great place to spend time outdoors.

 – Dave

Jenny Selin

  • 10-year elected member of Morgantown City Council
  • Former Mayor of Morgantown
  • Worked for five years as the Community Design Team Coordination at WVU
  • Started an Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site at Suncrest Primary School with WVBG Board Member Linda Bagby and 2 other moms.
My favorite trail leads from the upper parking lot along the hillside to the Solar House.  It is the secret entrance to the Garden with a view.

 – Jenny

Sally Taylor

  • Registered Nurse/Health Educator
  • Retired from the Monongalia County Board of Education and Board of Health; WVU School of Community Medicine and School of Nursing – Adjunct Facility
  • Member of the Service League of Morgantown
  • Resident of Morgantown since 1970
I love the West Virginia Botanic Garden because it is the perfect place to unwind and get in touch with nature.  It offers a great place to give back to the community with lots of rewarding volunteer opportunities, regardless of your skills and interests.  It is such a beautiful, must-visit place.

 – Sally

Life Directors

Frank Scafella, Jr.

  • Retired – Morgantown City Council member, former Mayor

George Longenecker

  • Retired Professor of Landscape Architecture, WVU
  • Retired Executive Director of the West Virginia Botanic Garden


Cheryl Carnegie – Administrative Assistant

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is an incredible place.  The grounds are stunningly beautiful in every season and it is one of the most accessible places near Morgantown to hike.  The Garden is a wonderful resource for the local community, and its progress is driven by an amazing community all its own.  The Board, Staff, and Volunteers at the WVBG are a remarkable group of people that share a common goal – a rare find.  It’s an honor to work with them.

 – Cheryl

Phil Cole – Assistant Site Manager

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is an ecological gem. The diversity here, from the majestic hemlock groves to the lively wetland habitats, offers tremendous outdoor education and research opportunities all on one site. The new welcome center has been a major catalyst of increased education programming, visitation and has spurred new beautiful gardens. The garden is a great place to unplug, unwind, and be inspired.

 – Phil

Dave Davis – Groundskeeper

As a lifelong naturalist, gardener and entomologist, I recognize the WVBG as the ecological gem that it is.  I enjoy the diversity of the natural areas and relish the gardens that have both been in place for years or recently developed.  Look for me raking the trails, walking my dogs, or working with other volunteers as we nurture our gardens. 

 – Dave

Jess Kaplan – Environmental Educator

As a recent transplant to West Virginia, spending time at the botanic garden has made feel right at home. The garden has been the perfect place for me to connect with nature and relax from the craziness of life. I love that there are so many amazing opportunities for growth and learning available at the garden. There’s always something new to see! 

 – Jess

Erin Smaldone – Education Director

The West Virginia Botanic Garden has always been one of my favorite places in Morgantown. My husband and I were married here in 2010 and we visit often with our two children. I just love the intimate feel of the place, whether it’s enjoying the sunshine while walking the Reservoir Loop Trail or the quiet peace of the forest trails. I absolutely love how the Garden changes throughout the year, from the emergence of tadpoles and leaves in the spring to the endless summer blooms and amazing fall color. Every day at the WVBG is special. I am honored to share this amazing place with all who visit.

 – Erin

Kat Tanner – Volunteer Coordinator

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a true celebration of nature and community.  With a wealth of opportunity for experiential education, environmental stewardship, and community-centered programs, the beautiful grounds play an important double act of recreation and education.  The passionate, dedicated staff and volunteers have done a tremendous job providing unique outdoor experiences for the community, and I am privileged to join them in their efforts.

 – Kat